How to Deal With a “Know-It-All”

Supposedly Sir Francis Bacon is credited with the quote “knowledge is power.” 

A true leader definitely needs to be experienced but they should also seek out others who are more knowledgeable in certain areas than they are.

Ego gets in the way, however, because some leaders won’t admit they don’t have all the answers.

If you work for someone who thinks they know it all, what are you supposed to do? 

First, you must spend the time really learning about your boss.

Delve deep as much as you can in understanding how they function, their personal life, others they interact with, etc.

Many times a person like this is actually very insecure and by boasting that “they know it all,” they get the spotlight shined on them.

Next you need to understand your own behaviors and identify how you react when in this person’s presence. 

This is not only about how you respond verbally but also your body language.

This is critical because your leader may only act this way in front of you and it may be the way you respond that triggers this person to act in this manner.

For example, they may be intimidated by your background or expertise and try to act superior especially when there are others present.

Once you have completed this analysis, try engaging with your boss in a different way. 

This could include ignoring some of their behaviors; when this person doesn’t get a rise out of you they may stop acting this way.

You may also have to praise the leader when necessary.

I am not suggesting always using flattery, but it may be that this person does not feel appreciated by you when they do something worth a “thank you.”

If all else fails, talk with others who “seem” to have a better rapport with this leader. 

You may learn that they are also having similar issues with this person so collectively you all may need to speak with this person’s boss.

This probably will be a difficult conversation but working in a toxic environment is not healthy for anyone.

Have you ever exhibited “know-it-all” behavior? 

Think about why you did that and whether it was productive for others or just annoying.

Now think about your boss and if he/she has acted in a similar manner.